A Freshers' Guide to Soton Nightlife
We want to see all you freshers ‘avin it large so read this for the low down on Soton’s club scene.
Freshers, your endless fight with the monsters at the end of the phone at Student Finance has paid off, and now you’ve made it into Soton with a tidy sum in your bank account, courtesy of the tax payer. Now you can bask in the glory of wasting a year of your productive life as a fresher, the year when you should tuck away worries about those £9k fees, getting those 2:1s, and calling your parents every day. For now, you can look forward to a year of drunken debauchery and killer hangovers.
Unlike most university towns, Southampton is spoilt for choice when it comes to student clubs, and with such a diverse offering, matching the right place to the right night is key. So here’s the Soton Tab’s guide to where you should be toasting your loans.
Jesters (and Clowns), Portswood
This dive will make you realise why you applied to Southampton, and to you freshers it will seem like the greatest place on Earth, seriously it is. Known to punters as the Palace of Dreams, you’ll soon see why this pseudonym is so appropriate. We really don’t want to tell you too much in case we ruin the surprise, but Clowns is the upstairs ‘wine bar’ whilst Jesters occupies the basement. Its décor and exterior might be slightly off-putting but several Jesticles later you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t found this place sooner. The atmosphere in here is second to none and give it a few weeks you’re always guaranteed to bump into someone you know. If you’re hardcore enough you can earn yourself an elusive Jester’s gold card.
When to go: Mondays for 50p pints, £2.50 doubles and £3.50 Jesticles. All other nights still have modestly priced drinks.
Drink of Choice: Jesticle in Jesters and the Juicy Lucy in Clowns.
Clientele: Students; anyone and everyone, ranging from sports club socials to last minute night outs. Expect good fancy dress.
Expect to hear: Cheese, Disney, current and past hits.
Tab Top Tip: Don’t dress up and get yourself a pair of Jesters shoes, you’ll understand why when you get there.
Voodoo Lounge, City Centre
This place has had more name changes than P. Diddy but it’s sticking with its current alias… for now. With a smoking area occupying an alleyway and an overcrowded venue on most club nights, this place is popular amongst Soton and Solent students. If you fancy looking fairly dapper then avoid Jesters and head here.
When to go: Fridays
Drink of Choice: £1 Jager Bombs
Clientele: Both Soton and Solent, mostly the latter and an unhealthy mix of locals at weekends.
Expect to hear: Commercial hits and chart.
Tab Top Tip: Avoid excessive cheap energy drink unless dancefloor punch ups are your idea of a good night out.
Located a few doors down the hill from Jesters this place has tight competition with the Palace of Dreams. Last year the fun-sponges at the council banned QuadVods but don’t worry, the triples are the next best thing. Sporting a large outdoor ‘beer garden’, Sobar provides a good social atmosphere. Get yourself a Sobar wristband for reduced entry and after the amount of times you’ll be hitting this place up it’ll probably pay for itself within a few weeks.
When to go: Tuesdays for SO:Crazy
Drink of Choice: Triple Vodka Blue for £1.50
Clientele: Students only, mostly Soton and a small mix Solent
Expect to hear: Current and past hits with dodgy dubstep remixes.
Tab Top Tip: Don’t avoid the queues by climbing the fence – the bouncers will always catch you.
The Cube, Highfield
Remember that place where you had you welcome party and spoke to people whose names and faces you forgot after five minutes? That’s here. This place has been rebranded more times than a failed inner-city school, but now SUSU have finally cottoned on to what makes a fairly decent Friday night.
When to go: Fridays
Drink of Choice: £2 doubles
Clientele: Freshers to grumpy post-grads.
Expect to hear: Various themed Friday nights offering a range of tastes.
Tab Top Tip: Just because some students wear a SUSU branded polo, it doesn’t make them ‘a big deal’.
Junk, Bedford Place
It’s the early hours of the morning, you’re half cut, and it’s time to get down and skanky. Located on Bedford Place, Junk is a dark and menacing nightclub full of dubstep, grime, underground house, and even a sprinkling of indie electro. Expensive door entries, but a quality night out for those with intoxicated veins (alcoholically) looking to batter their eardrums.
When to go: Shakedown Tuesdays for the most variety, other nights more specialist. Itchy Feet also host events here.
Drink of choice: Vodka red bull / jagerbomb.
Clientele: Student dominated, but the occasional mish mash of dodgy locals.
Expect to hear: Tailored nights ranging from urban Thursdays to deep house Saturdays.
Top Tab Tip: Keep an eye on the Junk website for prolific DJ bookings and Hospitality nights.
Pop World, Bedford Place
You’ve done Orange Rooms and now you want to go somewhere chilled and pretentious. Well, this is not the place for you. With a multi-coloured flashing dance floor and poles, Pop World is centred around pop and dance music from the nineties and naughties. The experience is a surreal mash up of your 12 year old hard working self and drunk 18 year old Fresher self, improved by the free entry, short bar waiting times and a good place to find someone that can dance worse than you.
When to go: Tuesdays.
Drink of Choice: Chilli bomb or a Melon Bug cocktail
Clientele: Solent students, people that can’t dance and girls that cannot let their childhood go.
Expect to hear: 90s tunes from your primary and secondary school days. Favourites include Steps, Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child and Basshunter.
Tab Top Tip: Wear comfy shoes so you can dance the night away.
Orange Rooms, Bedford Place
This fish-inspired hotspot lies bang in the centre of Bedford Place. A cheap couple of quid door entry will take you past the fish tanks and into this student-classy bar where you can chill out, wet your whistle and get your groove into shape before you move onto the early hour clubs such as Junk or Rhino.
When to go: Tuesday Quids In (chance to win up to £500 of the door money).
Drink of Choice: Vodka coke / lemonade, or a Mojito if your wallet can take a hammering.
Clientele: Slightly dressed up students on weekdays, Southampton locals on weekends.
Expect to hear: Across the board mish mash of different genres courtesy of DJ B-side.
Tab Top Tip: Don’t wear your Jesters shoes.
Oceana, Leisure World
Situated out by the coast in the Leisureworld complex, Oceana is the only real “mega club” of Southampton. Several thousand punters (or several hundred once the mega club novelty wears off) bundle into the various rooms sipping Smirnoff Ice’s in Monte Carlo or dancing manically to strobe lights in the Icehouse. Don’t forget to spunk all your remaining cash in the casino round the corner afterwards.
When to go: Relatively samey most days, probably whatever their latest student night is.
Drink of choice: Cheap bottles of bitchpop or beer.
Clientele: Students, Joey Essex wannabes, and all out twats on weekends.
Expect to hear: Commercial throughout, with old school cheese in the Disco room.
Tab Top Tip: Wear a fluorescent jacket so your friends can find you half way through the night.
The Edge, St Marys
Close to the city centre, but not too far from Bevois Valley, The Edge is Southampton’s largest LGBT venue but welcomes punters from all orientations. With 3 rooms including a dancefloor and karaoke, a night out at The Edge will be the highlight of a busy week. Be sure to grind to Christina Aguilera’s Dirrty with resident LGBT folk. Also there’s a pool table next to the dancefloor, win-win.
When to go: Wednesdays for BAR150, Free entry before 10.
Drink of Choice: Bog standard £2 doubles.
Clientele: A variety of students, straight and LGBT, from Solent and Southampton as well as locals.
Expect to hear: Chart hits, dance, gay anthems, guilty pleasures.
Tab Top Tip: If you’re on the pull then be sure to pick up some free condoms and lube. Plenty of flavours to choose from.
Of course, we’ve barely broken the surface on what Southampton has to offer its chundergraduates for a good night out and there’s new club nights popping up every week, so don’t just take our advice but get out and explore Saff’ampton’s other clubs. Want to find some more unusual nightspots? Check out our alternative guide.